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Canadaram

Crucial C300 6.0GB review biased by RAID controller

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In the recent SR reviews of the Crucial C300 LSI 9260 MegaRAID SATA 6.0Gbps, the drive was tested using a LSI 9260 MegaRAID SATA 6.0Gbps controller with a 512 MB cache. The Crucial drives showed average performance on SATA 3.0 compared with Sandforce drives, and much higher performance on SATA 6.0 I don't believe the performance gains were solely due to the SATA 6.0 bandwidth, but that the tests were heavily influenced by the LSI card and its cache.

Why weren't the other brands of drives tested on the LSI card (it is SATA 3.0 compatible) to provide a benchmark of the performance improvement attributable to the card?

In the conclusion of the review, "Price has come down making for an excellent value proposition" - not true, because to achieve the results an expensive controller card must also be purchased.

"even low-end 6.0Gbps adapters have problems. We tested the HighPoint Rocket 620 6.0Gbps add-on card at the start of this review and saw incredibly slow performance. With the latest drivers, it was still performing sometimes at half the speed of the Intel ICH10R. Switching to the LSI 9260 MegaRAID card solved all of these problems, so a compatible card is the key to unlocking the C300's complete performance. "

So really, this review is a review of the LSI card, not of the Crucial drive.

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In the recent SR reviews of the Crucial C300 LSI 9260 MegaRAID SATA 6.0Gbps, the drive was tested using a LSI 9260 MegaRAID SATA 6.0Gbps controller with a 512 MB cache. The Crucial drives showed average performance on SATA 3.0 compared with Sandforce drives, and much higher performance on SATA 6.0 I don't believe the performance gains were solely due to the SATA 6.0 bandwidth, but that the tests were heavily influenced by the LSI card and its cache.

Why weren't the other brands of drives tested on the LSI card (it is SATA 3.0 compatible) to provide a benchmark of the performance improvement attributable to the card?

In the conclusion of the review, "Price has come down making for an excellent value proposition" - not true, because to achieve the results an expensive controller card must also be purchased.

"even low-end 6.0Gbps adapters have problems. We tested the HighPoint Rocket 620 6.0Gbps add-on card at the start of this review and saw incredibly slow performance. With the latest drivers, it was still performing sometimes at half the speed of the Intel ICH10R. Switching to the LSI 9260 MegaRAID card solved all of these problems, so a compatible card is the key to unlocking the C300's complete performance. "

So really, this review is a review of the LSI card, not of the Crucial drive.

Umm, CanRam, this has been discussed in other threads...if you do a search :D.

I think you are missing the point about the Rocket raid boards however. If you do a search over on your reg site, macrumors, you should be able to find discussion about how many problems people have had with poor performance using the 'bargain' priced HP products on the Mac side. Even barefeats has noted some of the problems with those products.

By same argument, you can say any site testing with R300 is biased, as with the Mac Pro at least, there is *no* built-in SATA 6Gbs interface...just read macperformanceguide.com for a start. How would you demand an unbiased system setup that meets with everyone's approval when Intel has yet to implement a chipset that supports SATA 6Gbs natively?

in SATA 3Gbs testing, the point was that the HP board is *worse* than native SATA 3Gbs "half the speed of the Intel ICH10R" native MB performance.

So, do you find fault in macperformanceguide.com tests of the Real300???

Do you find bias in all of tweaktowns reviews as they likewise are using a LSI board w/512MB cache?

And you see the new 16x PCIe Highpoint HBA adapater has some disadvantages having no cache vs LSI and Adaptec...but read a bit more and see that performance tweaktown found with that new HP $700 board varied depending on which MB was used via a 16x PCIe 2.0 slot. .

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3553/highpoint_rocketraid_2760_switch_architecture_pci_e_x16_24_port_sas_sata_6gb_s_controller/index5.html

The first and more complicated issue had to do with choosing a motherboard that had a nice data path for the PCIe 2.0 16 lane. Many of our high end motherboards on the Intel side of things use the NVIDIA NF200 bridge chip. We tested the controller with our X58A-UD7 and the results were not all that impressive due to the additional bridge chip. Then we tried the GIGABYTE 890FXa-UD7, a high end AMD based motherboard that features several PCIe 2.0 16x lanes, but it didn’t deliver the performance we were looking for either.

We finally went back to basics and chose the Intel X58DSO, one of the first X58 chipset motherboards to hit the market. The X58DSO doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles as the newer boards, but that played into our favour since many of those add-on goodies take bandwidth away from where we needed it.

Off course ^ this setup came with 24 loaned Real C300's from Crucial, which would set you back some serious coin, but do you disregard single drive performance measures with this setup/HBA?

What is the preferred "ideal" baseline system to test SSD's on to have "unbiased" reviews? A laptop...using AMD or Intel chipsets, a MacBook Pro?

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I fully agree the C300 results are biased right now, but its a problem of playing with hardware a bit ahead of its own time. "Cheap" controllers dont seem to work, hell the HighPoint card bluescreens while we try to run a trace on connected drives, meaning we need to look at more expensive options.

On that note though we are working on a 3.0 vs 6.0 LSI RAID card review putting the 9260-8i head-to-head with the older 8888ELP to see what sort of gains you get from each speed and each card. This review will go over trace results of Intel 3.0 vs RAID 3.0 vs RAID 6.0 with the Seagate Barracuda 2TB XT (6.0), Crucial RealSSD 256GB C300 (6.0), Corsair F120 120GB (3.0), 600GB Velociraptor (6.0) and some 600GB Seagate Savvio 10k4's.

Basically the synopsis of the article will be if users should upgrade their RAID cards for newer 6.0 devices but also to take a look at what gains you can get from a 3.0 or 6.0 RAID card over the standard Intel ICH10R AHCI connection. Hopefully this will address many of the issues that keep getting brought up over the way we benchmark SATA 6.0 devices right now.

On that note, going from the list above, if you want to see any other drives in the review, let me know soon. I wanted to get a good mix of consumer/enterprise drives from both 3.0 and 6.0 spectrums.

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Caching RAID controllers help more than people think. My machine with its bloated OS takes 2:36 to boot from a 600gb Velociraptor through the ICH10R. Just plugging it into my Adaptec 5805 cuts my boot time by a full minute. I confirmed similar gains with a WD RE4 2 TB drive. Caching is huge.

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